February 20th, 2009
03:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll finds partisan opinions on bipartisanship

A new poll shows Americans want Obama to work more with Republicans.
A new poll shows Americans want Obama to work more with Republicans.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans want President Barack Obama to try to pass laws with bipartisan support rather than just with the backing of Democrats in Congress. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Friday, also suggests that Democrats aren't so enthusiastic about bipartisanship.

Fifty-five percent of respondents questioned in the poll would rather see the president try to pass laws with bipartisan compromise. But that number drops 15 points, to 40 percent, among Democrats in the survey. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats would rather see Obama try to pass laws without Republican support.

Full poll results [PDF]

Obama signed the stimulus package into law on Tuesday. The $787 billion bundle is designed to pump up the economy by increasing federal government spending, sending aid to states in fiscal trouble, and cutting taxes. The bill passed Congress less than four weeks after Obama took office. It passed the House of Representatives with no Republican support. In the Senate, three of the chamber's 41 Republicans backed the bill.

"Bipartisanship is always more popular with the party out of power than with the party that is in control," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Democrats have wide majorities in both houses of Congress, but they are just shy of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. A filibuster is a move by the minority party in the Senate to basically bring action in the chamber to a halt. Sixty votes are needed to break a filibuster and the Democrats currently hold 58 seats in the Senate.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, down 2 points from December. Thirty-nine percent indicate they have a positive opinion of the Republican Party, also down 2 points from December.

Has the Republican Party taken a hit because it opposed the stimulus plan?

"Nothing much has changed," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "The GOP is still behind the Democrats. They haven't paid a price for opposing the plan but haven't made any gains either."

The survey's release comes one month after Obama's inauguration as president. Two out of three people questioned in the poll approve of the way Obama is handling the job. And more than seven in 10 think that he is a strong leader who inspired confidence and is tough enough for the job.

"But the public appears more attracted to Obama's personal characteristics than his stand on the issues, and they don't think he can end partisan gridlock in Washington, one of the key messages of Obama's presidential campaign," Holland said.

Public opinion about the president, while still fairly high, has dropped a bit since December on some measures, including 6- to 7-point losses on inspiring confidence and the president's ability to bring change.

"One exception is the number who say Obama is a strong leader," adds Holland. "That's grown to 80 percent, a sign that his attempts to look presidential in the past few weeks have paid off."

The number who said they agree with Obama on important issues dropped a bit as well, and although that figure is still over 60 percent, it is one of the lowest scores he received.

"That's a signal that Obama's personal appeal, rather than his stands on the issues, are boosting his overall ratings," Holland said.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, with 1,046 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Charlie in Maine

    GOP Greedy Obtructionist Pinheads

    February 20, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Unshrub

    Rob

    Are you serious? After eight years of rebublican screw ups how can you tell if the Democrats are screwing up anything?

    February 20, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Joan , Ontario

    Can John Boehner smile? I have never seen him look at all happy but then again he doesn't have a lot to be happy about. Polls show that Obama is still very popular, 60% approve of the stimulus plan and Democrats are quite far ahead of Republicans in public support. It seems the status quo and negativity from the Republican leaders is not working. However, many Republican governors and mayors are coming to their senses and can see the value of the stimulus plan.

    February 20, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Matthew, Detroit

    SOLID POINT.

    DEMS want to pass bills their way. They do not feel the need to

    work together. I dont mind it, just be HONEST about intentions.

    Barack let the house be the bad guys, he does not care about bipartisanship either. He is still acting on the main stage and trying to convince everyone he wants to work together. He has no intention of changing his stance on ANY issues.

    February 20, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Matthew, Detroit

    SOLID POINT.

    DEMS want to pass bills their way. They do not feel the need to

    work together. I dont mind it, just be HONEST about intentions.

    Barack let the house be the bad guys, he does not care about bipartisanship either. He is still acting on the main stage and trying to convince everyone he wants to work together. He has no intention of changing his stance on ANY issues.

    THIS IS THE REAL TRUTH. JUST BE HONEST ABOUT IT.

    February 20, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Matthew, Detroit

    Solid point.

    Just be honest with yourself and others.

    Dems won, they want their agenda. I dont blame them but dont make excuses or tell everyone you are trying to work together.

    Nancy Pelosi does not want to work with anyone. She has her own agenda.

    February 20, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Ken

    I'd like to believe that the GOP wants a more bipartisan approach to solve our problems. The fact that not one Republican in the House voted for the stimulus bill tells me that any one of them who was tempted to support the President knew his or her career would be at risk.

    The GOP would see America sink further to improve its political standing.

    February 20, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. EC

    GENE –

    I agree with you. I would LOVE to see the likes of John Boehner, John McCain, Eric Cantor and Lindsey Graham ALL go without a pay check and a job and have to live of food stamps and SEE how great their 8 years of giving tax breaks to the wealthy and their famous "trickle down" theory has worked out. These clowns are clueless.

    Republicans have been crying "wolf" every chance they get because they are shaking in their boots right now. President Obama has done MORE and managed the White House more efficiently than their "golden boy" Bushman.

    Republicans are afraid of PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ability to achieve what they clearly could NOT!!!! If you noticed, RNC Chairman Michael Steele is now copying everything the DNC achieved during the last 3+ years.

    They Republicans CAN NOT seem to come up with ONE original concept, policy plan or agenda when it comes to cleaning up their own mess. They have STOLEN, COPIED, MIMICK AND ROBBED from everyone else's ideas or concept and then turn around and call it "their idea". Yeah, okay........

    John Boehner is the POSTER CHILD of Obstructionist mentality. I hope and pray the REPUGS continue to cry wolf because it will ultimately be the self destruction of the GOP and RNC.

    February 20, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. ConsiderThis, FL

    For the Republicans to tout bipartisianship after 8 years of the King George W. Bush I reign as king of America has got to be the joke of the century! Republicans, when in power, rule with absoluteness. They don't even listen to anyone who has a different idea, thought or opinion and if you do, they call you unpatriotic. I am 55 years old and what surprises me most about the state of our politics today is how far beyond mean spiritedness the Republicans are going; past mean, past evil, past wicked, past sinful in their dealings with the Democratic president and the American people. With the damage that they have done to the USA during their rule, they should all be dressed in sackcloth and ashes; begging the American people for forgiveness. Instead, they are just as arrogant and demonic as ever.

    February 20, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Dems Done in 4

    Look at what they do not what they say. The stimulus bill was so full of pork, it was a bill only a Democrat could love. There was nothing bipartisan about what they did with it. Don't expect any changes to the economy from it but do expect more out of control taxing and spending under the guise of stimulus. John McCain called this well before November, but now we see he knew exactly what he was talking about.

    February 20, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Tom

    Dead wrong! Republicans who got us into this mess should humble themselves to work with Obama who has been working hard to help this economy. They will regret they obstructed when this country suffers and they play political games. This country was worse than that of communism if republicans ruled. On the other hand, Mr. President has more people’s support. All I can tell is that republicans need to get more education, so they could not feel so hard to read the bill which is only about 1k pages. And if Obama used their republican ideas, more than likely this economy would fail again in future. I would encourage republicans read and think more rather that repeat what was repeated over and over and failed the people.

    February 20, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. liz

    Bi partisanship would be great! So tell the GOP that bipartisanship does NOT mean crucifying three of their own members for compromising in order to do what is best for their constituents.

    February 20, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. tim

    "Yolanda Moore February 20th, 2009 4:05 pm ET
    How is this possible if the Republicans are not wiling to work with the Democrats???The Republicans can not have it both ways 1)not willing to cooperate and 2)then reserve the right to complain that democrats are not williwng to work with them.."

    Where have you been Yolanda, you just described the last two years of congressional tactics BY THE DEMOCRATS, this is how Washington works and always will no matter how much you HOPE for it.

    Ask Pelosi how much money the taxpayers pay for her private plane to go back and forth from CA to Wash – everyone seemed to have a problem with the Big 3's private jets including her Berkley cronies.

    February 20, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Once you vote Black

    Obama must take the high road with the GOP Emilio. Anything else would be uncivilized. The more he does it the worst the GOP looks. Dems love him, Rep hate him. Indy are judging him based on how he deals with the GOP. They are looking to see that he is trying to bring them in. When they see him reach for them and the GOP pulls away from him, it makes the Republicans look bad, but more then that it makes Obama look good.

    February 20, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Jonathan Lawoyin

    Is anybody really surprised of the way the republicans have behaved since the new administration took over, well you will be wasting your precious time thinking they will behave otherwise.Dont forget are modern day Pharisees, they belong to an exclusive club of 'wrecking balls'. They are useful only for destructive purposes. The only way they believe the public will take notice of their presence is in doing stupid things. Come to think of it a party that can throw up a combination of Mccain and Sarah need not be TAKEN SERIOUS AT ALL.

    February 20, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. OurTurn

    I understand that President Obama is doing his best to set an example of cooperative behavior (bipartisanship), but it's not working. As a liberal who has just weathered the worst 8 years of her life, and wondering when things MIGHT get better, I'd be just fine with scrapping the idea of placating the conservative Republicans.

    OUR TURN!

    YES WE CAN!

    February 20, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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